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Natural Connections

Modern life in Scotland is increasingly busy. The connections our ancestors had with nature and the land are being lost. As leisure time shrinks, or is filled with hi-tech experiences, opportunities to experience nature become fewer. And yet it is possible to connect with nature on a day to day basis. All around us, the great web of life continues to hold its shape, and nature continues its eternal cycles. Keep looking, listening, smelling, touching - and keep experiencing natural connections.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Starlings were going to roost in the Ivy-covering on a gable end at Springfield Quay around 4pm today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A glorous sunset yesterday evening gave way to a mild, sunny day today. While heading down to Greenock, a Roe Deer followed by a three-quarters grown fawn leapt across the road. 
At Greenock, Jackdaws were investigating their nesting holes under the eaves of some of the big, west end villas. Later, 30 Starlings were over the motorway near Bishopton.

Monday, September 28, 2015

All the local birds (Starling, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin and Great Tit) were singing in the warm sunshine this morning. About noon, a Raven flew low over the estate (south east) cronking loudly.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Another lovely day in west Central Scotland, continuing the "Indian summer" theme of late. A full moon and clear skies tonight suggest the astronomers are in for a treat when the lunar eclipse happens in the wee, small hours.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Balfron was full of birds today with Pied Wagtails on ploughed fields, Linnets along field margins, Jackdaws and House Martins all over the village and Siskins calling from various sites (presumably indicative of the influx being picked up across the UK).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Two Pied Wagtails were giving their cheerful "Pees-weep" call at East Kilbride today.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thought I caught sight of a single Swallow low over Seedhill Road, Paisley as I headed home today.
News from the web is that the first big flocks of Pink-footed Geese set off from Iceland this morning (and have already arrived in England together with the first Barnacle Geese).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

News from the web is of two Ring-necked Parakeets in Pollok Country Park.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The temperature was 5.5 first thing today, the coldest morning of the year so far. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

The first draft of the cover for the next New Naturalist has been released...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Jackdaws which have recently begun arriving in the local wood just before dusk seem to be roosting there overnight, judging by the calls which followed the first train going past this morning.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Spent a lovely sunny day walking through the Chalamain Gap and back via Rothiemurchus forest. Highlights were as follows:
Small numbers of Red Grouse flushed by the train as it passed over Drumochter (6 birds in total).
Thee Buzzards from the train between Calvine and Newtonmore.
20 Carrion Crows on stubble at Newtonmore.
50 to 100 Woodpigeons on a newly cut field one mile out of Newtonmore (with around 20 on Kingussie High School Playing Field on the way back).
Four White/Pied Wagtails around the resort area in Aviemore, possibly passage birds.
Seven Rooks and a couple of Jackdaws feeding on grass verges in the main resort complex.
A Meadow Pipit on waste ground behind the former "Santa Claus Land" site.
Bumble Bees gathering pollen from Spear Thistles around the Coire Cas Car Park. Other  plants in flower near there included Devil's Bit Scabious, Common Ragwort, Lady's Mantle, Bell Heather, Common Heather, Bog Ashphodel (past its best) and Common Cottongrass.
Dragonflies active, both over damp moorland and beside forest pools (at least 3-4 species were seen).
Clouds of Midges on the moors plus plenty of other flying insects on the wing (although moths less common than last month and no butterflies seen).
Meadow Pipits still widespread across all upland areas passed through (including in the Chalamain Gap itself.
Red tailed Bumblebee active on upland heathland.
A Raven cronking high over "Chalamain Meadow".
A Dipper on the Allt Druidh where the Chalamain Gap path intersects with the track into the Lairig Ghru.
Common Heather in full bloom in the Scots Pine forest with Bilberry now in fruit (and some Crowberry here and there).
A Song Thrush feeding on the forest floor.
Siskins calling at a few sites.
Coal Tit the most ubiquitous species in the forest, with only one Crested Tit located. 
At least three Crossbills flying overhead and calling from tree tops around the Coylumbridge Hotel complex.
Two or three Mistle Thrushes eating Rowan berries (and rattling noisly) from a tree outside the Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre (with a Blackbird also in attendance).
A showy Great-spotted Woodpecker in a bare tree near Corrour House.
Seven Mallards on the Spey south of Aviemore.
The only hirundine of the day was an unidentified bird (possibly a Swallow or House Martin) over pools west of Dalwhinnie.
The full bird list for the day was: Mallard, Red Grouse, Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Wren, Dipper, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied/White Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, unidentified crossbill and Siskin (27 species).

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Grey Wagtail was on the river in the centre of Paisley today.
Weather looking good for tomorrow...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Three White Wagtails and a White/Pied type were at Murdieston Park, Greenock this morning.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Had a look for the Little Egret from the train past Finlaystone Point today but only a Grey Heron was present. Robins seem to have started singing again over the past few days and Starlings were singing in today's sunshine.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

An unexpected surprise first thing was a Whitethroat feeding on Bramble berries at the derelict uws Underwood residences. Later, the number of Black-headed Gulls on the river in Paisley town centre continues to risewhile one of he drake Mallards there is moulting into breeding plumage already.
Walking home tonight, a roadside plant I couldn't quite place was presumably a garden escape.


Monday, September 14, 2015

A Grey Heron was heading inland over central Greenock first thing. In the evening, a Buzzard was being mobbed by a crow as it perched on a motorway lampost near the Arkleston junction. For the second evening running, roosting Jackdaws seem to be gathering in the Birch wood just east of the estate.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The good weather of late is continuing, only slightly disrupted by yesterday's rain.
This evening, some Jackdaws headed over the house giving their "heading to roost" call. I've never heard it hereabouts before. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

No sign of any House Martins at the Oldhall colony today. A Dunnock was the only visitor to the back garden although some Long-tailed Tits were again at the Cardonald Railway bridge and both Great Tit and Coal Tit were beside Ralston Path.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fifty Feral Pigeons were at Barsaw Cross as usual.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Two albino Swallows are being reported from opposite ends of England.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

First autumn colour in the trees at uws today. A Grey Heron ws opposite the Renfrewshire Council Offices and four or five Long-tailed Tits were at the South Cardonald railway bridge.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A Pied Wagtail was feeding in Greenock town centre first thing today.
Both the mornings and evenings are getting noticeably darker.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Only birds on the Cart today were eclipse Mallards and winter-plumaged Black-headed Gulls.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Spent a lovely late-summer afternoon in Callander. The Swallow's nest in the porch of our friends' house had been vacated two weeks earlier but up to eight adult and juvenile Swallows (plus at least 8 House Martins) were overhead until late evening. Fifteen Starlings also flew over and single Woodpigeon and Dunnock paid brief visits to the back garden. The day ended with a lovely sunset behind Ben Ledi.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Three House Martins were still twittering around their breeding site at Dunchurch Road, Oldhall this morning. 
Headed for Cumbrae today. Around twelve Meadow Pipits were scattered along the upper sections of the Old Largs Road from Greenock. Two Black Guillemots were off Largs and 100 Starlings were on wires near the ferry terminal on the island.  Two Sandwich Terns were feeding just west of Millport Pier. 
Heading back to the ferry, birds on the shore consisted of Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Rock Pipit. A Gannet was offshore and three more were in Largs Bay. 

Friday, September 04, 2015

First twelve Fieldfares of the autumn reported from Dava Moor.

The skies over Paisley were empty this lunchtime, apart from the odd pigeon. It seems that the local House Martins and Sand Martins have finally moved on.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The first Blue Whale ever to have been recorded in UK waters has been seen off Cornwall.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The first day of autumn was actually warm and sunny.